I was very pleased to hear about the increased membership of the Cardiff and Vale Credit Union at their recent AGM-held at the Castleland Community Centre close to their new shop front and offices in Holton Road.

Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and managed by the members who use them.

Members save in a common fund which can be used to offer loans to credit union members at affordable rates of interest.

Because credit unions are financial co-operatives, members’ savings and any interest earned on loans stays in the local community to benefit local people.

The Welsh Government is committed to supporting credit unions in Wales and has invested in them since 2000.

This is because we recognise the important contribution credit unions can make in tackling financial exclusion, especially in communities where disadvantage persists.

Also backed by patron and actor Michael Sheen, credit unions are making a huge difference in Wales and we are now encouraging employers to engage with the Credit Union Payroll Deduction Scheme.

The Payroll deduction allows employees to save into a Credit Union account with the money taken directly from salaries.

The payment is deducted before your money goes into your bank, at an amount that suits you, meaning that you don’t feel the impact, but you still get the benefits of saving.

For more information about the Cardiff and Vale credit union visit cardiffcu.com

I was delighted to support the Cadoxton Youth Project and Communities First Easter event at Victoria Park last weekend, where I also met the Barry air cadets –all having lots of fun and raising vital funds for Marie Curie.

I also welcomed last week’s announcement by environment minister Hannah Blythyn AM of £3,132,650 flood defence funding to finance works at Llanmaes and tidal works to the Cadoxton River.

These works are part of the Welsh Government’s £56m programme to strengthen flood and coastal defences. The Minister said: “We are investing in new schemes and major maintenance right across Wales.

"I have also protected NRW’s budget for flood risk management activities next financial year, as well as funding a new Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre which will improve our understanding of coastal processes and inform better decision making."